Land Trusts in Washington State

4 Replies

Does anyone have any experience using a land trust in Washington State?  That is, is such an entity a legally acceptable means of holding title and can title insurance be obtained by the trust's trustee in this state?

Thanks

I think author, Mark Warda, is the authority on Land Trusts. You can find his book on Amazon. 

Thanks for the responses.

Since posting, I've researched this topic further on the internet and referred to Warda.

Conclusion:  Since it is a trust based upon common law and not specifically excluded under RCW it must be legal in this state by implication, provided the trust is formed in accordance with trust law.

Observations:  The information provided in the link above, states '... a "Land Trust" is not an entity that can legally hold title to real property.'  It doesn't go on to explain or justify the statement.  Perhaps there is case law refuting my conclusion as I doubt there's code specifically excluding a land trust from holding title to realty.  In one respect I agree, the trust instrument can't hold legal title or course - in a land trust it is vested in the trustee.

Hi all - I thought I'd make a clarification here regarding "Land Trusts". 

For anyone who got to this thread looking for conservation land trusts or conservancies, here are some links to learn more about how to get involved and protect your land: Land Trust Alliance, Washington Association of Land Trusts.

Land trust nonprofits, like for example the Jefferson Land Trust, The Nature Conservancy of Washington, or Columbia Land Trust, are non-profit 501(c)3 organizations who work with private landowners to conserve their land in perpetuity, and are different than the real estate beneficiary trusts being discussed in this thread otherwise.

One explanation about the difference between these two can be found on wikipeda:
"There are two distinct definitions of a land trust:

  • a private, nonprofit organization that, as all or part of its mission, actively works to conserve land by undertaking or assisting in land or conservation easement acquisition, or by its stewardship of such land or easements;[1] or
  • an agreement whereby one party (the trustee) agrees to hold ownership of a piece of real property for the benefit of another party (the beneficiary).[2]"

Another helpful explanation about the difference can be found on LegalDictionary.com.

Hope this helps!

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